STOCKHOLM - Swedish telecommunications operator TeliaSonera said Nov. 3 that the company had begun to block computers that send junk e-mails, or spam, since the flood of unwanted e-mails was creating costs and problems for its customers.
"One year ago we had about 30 complaints a day. That figure rose to 300 in the spring, and now it is about 3,000. We are trying to stop this," the spokesman of TeliaSonera Sweden, Ola Kallemur, said.
TeliaSonera said the amount of spam being sent globally "threatens the Internet's operations," noting that computers in Sweden, without the knowledge of their users, were being taken advantage of by spam-senders all over the world.
"The Internet is easy to use, but this constant flood of spam that we are now witnessing is creating costs and problems for our customers, and we won't accept it," the head of TeliaSonera Sweden, Marie Ehrling, said in a statement.
A single computer infected with a virus can send more than 100,000 spam messages in a single day.
Sweden and neighboring Nordic countries were notably hit in August by the Sobig, Welchi and LovSan viruses, which sent millions of spam-messages to computers. The Swedish tax authority said it alone had received 1.5 million spam-messages in a single night.
The computers that TeliaSonera will block are those that have been infected with "trojans" that are used without the customer's knowledge to send large amounts of spam to all addresses in the computer's address book. TeliaSonera said it would offer assistance to remove the blocking procedure once it was able to contact the customer and resolve the problem.
The measure comes just days after the EU passed a law banning spam.
The Swedish government said meanwhile that it was planning to reinforce its legislation by April 1, 2004, in order to conform to the EU law.
TeliaSonera controls 60 percent of Lietuvos Telekomas, 49 percent of Lattelekom, 49 percent of Latvijas Mobilais Telefons and 49 percent of Eesti Telekom.